Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right.
Bening is no stranger to the Oscar list. She has previously been nominated for “Bugsy”, “American Beauty” and “Being Julia”, all worthy of a win but pipped at the post. This might well be her year. As one half of a lesbian couple who have raised 2 children through a sperm donation. Her uptight role as the controlling half could easily have been overdone but the elegant Bening pulls back with great restraint. The scene where she finds evidence of a betrayal by her lover is a highlight of the film and sure to be the reason she has a chance at a win – it’s her time I believe.
Jennifer Lawrence for “Winter’s Bone”.
Jennifer Lawrence has arrived with great fanfare into the Oscar race and a bright film future. As a young teenager trying to keep her dirt poor family together in the Ozark mountains she shows guts and determination that is totally believable, blending in with some of the locals cast in supporting roles and commanding the screen from start to finish. A ghoulish scene towards the end of the film is pure Oscar bait. Against her is that she has plenty of other opportunities if this performance is any guide.
Natalie Portman for “Black Swan”.
Natalie Portman is a sure to receive an Oscar nom if you believe the plaudits she has so far received her latest starring role. Playing an ambitious tormented ballerina preparing for a lead role in Swan Lake. Director Darren Aronofsky was responsible for Mickey Rourke’s stunning comeback performance (and Oscar nom) in “The Wrestler” this could be the female counterpart.
Nicole Kidman for “Rabbit Hole”.
Nicole may well be on the nomination list due to the strong reviews for her performance in this film adaptation of the Pulitzer prize winning play.. Playing the mother of a child who is killed in a car accident, she becomes involved with the man responsible. The role earned Cynthia Nixon (Sex & The City) a Tony award win. Let’s hope she is as good as they say – I have doubts but one never knows. She is a favorite on the red carpet so expect her to frock up once again.
Julianne Moore for “The Kids Are All Right”.
As the other half of the lesbian couple mentioned above Moore might fare better in the supporting category. Bening gives the star performance but Moore is pretty good too. Let’s hope they don’t cancel each other out which is usually the case.
Halle Berry for “Frankie & Alice”.
Halle Berry is out to promote and release this film in time for another nomination and possibly a second Oscar after her win for “Monster’s Ball”. The film has been on the shelf for a while but finally picked up a distributor. Berry plays a character with a multiple character disorder – can Oscar bait be more obvious? Her alter-ego is a white racist! It is based on a true story to add to the mix. She has not appeared on many lists but now with the release in time is sure to gain full momentum.
Diane Lane for “Secretariat”.
Although the film hasn’t done so well at the box office the acclaim for Lane’s performance could see her in the race. She is a previous nominee for the film “Unfaithful”. Will she be as successful as the famed horse her character owns? We shall see.
Lesley Manville for “Another Year”.
Manville could join the list of director Mike Leigh’s British leading ladies that the Academy love (Brenda Blethyn/Secrets & Lies & Imelda Staunton/Vera Drake). She has been a regular in Leigh films for years. It seems that this performance as an unhappy divorcee (always with a drink in her hand) is gaining the buzz needed for a nomination. Every since the film’s debut at Cannes earlier in the year some pundits have been saying it is the female performance of the year.
OTHERS IN WITH A CHANCE.
Sally Hawkins – Made In Dagenham.
Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine.